For companies wishing to upgrade their File Server capabilities beyond what Novell 3.x can provide, we are recommending Microsoft Windows Server 2003 as the platform of choice. This product is the best product that Microsoft has produced in the file server marketplace and helps to solidify their dominant position in the market. While some might argue (myself included) that their market dominance was initially based on name alone, they have used the money that companies invested to improve the product to the point where we can recommend it. When you combine this with the hardware compatibility issues that continue to plague older but otherwise solid versions of Novell Netware, then Microsoft Windows Server 2003 does seem to be a logical choice.
The giants of the computer and software industry go out of their way to make sure that their products work with one another. HP, IBM or Dell servers have to work with Microsoft products or they wouldn’t sell. As companies become smaller, their clout with the larger companies diminishes and research and development, not to mention marketing, makes it more difficult to compete. The old phrase “Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door” no longer seems to apply in a world where name recognition and marketing is all that counts.
Windows Server 2003 does do a good job of basic File and Print Server functions. It really comes into its own as an Application Server running E-mail and Database functions. It will work with Libra today as well as other applications in the future. By using Terminal Services in combination with a VPN (Virtual Private Network) you can use the Internet to dial into the server from home or while on the road. Additional Licenses are required for Terminal Service clients over and above user licenses for the Windows Server 2003 itself.
Windows Server 2003 is marketed in three different versions. Each has a base price for the product with additional fees for blocks of users above and beyond the original license.
The current versions are:
1) Small Business
2) Standard Edition
The Small Business Edition is less expensive for 5 to 10 user networks. At 20 and more users the higher levels become more economical since additional users are less expensive. Enterprise Edition is the most expensive edition but is much more heavily discounted, so it often becomes the best buy for networks of 20 or more users. It is also rated as the most stable version so it is our recommendation for most customers.
The basic operations for all versions are pretty much the same and the major differences lie in available or optional features. For example SQL Server cannot be added to Small Business Edition (Standard) but it comes with Small Business Edition (Premium). By going with Enterprise Edition you keep all of your options open.
When you configure Windows Server 2003 it can serve a number of defined functions. Some of these require additional software or licenses. A short list would include:
1) File Server
2) Print Server
3) DNS Server
4) DHCP Server
5) Domain Controller
6) SQL Database Server
7) Exchange E-mail Server
8) Terminal Services Server
9) Virtual Private Network Server